Even as the Defense Department entered into a contract Wednesday with Fisher House, both sides in Washington were blaming the other. The holdup on death benefit payments is just one issue affecting military families because of the shutdown.
Child-care programs have been scratched, subsidized military grocery stores are closed, nonessential medical care has been cut back, and kids' sports programs have been canceled, CNNMoney reports.
"The president is the commander in chief. He should not be using troops and their families as pawns in this political bickering," Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pennsylvania, said on the House floor. "He should be doing everything he can to stand up for the men and women of our military. Instead, he is refusing to negotiate until he gets his way."
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said: "Shouldn't we be embarrassed about this? Shouldn't we be ashamed?"
Meanwhile, the members-only gym at the House remains open.
"The electricity, the hot water, the towels -- they are not provided by gym fairies," Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, said Wednesday, calling, on the House floor, for the gym to be closed. "They are provided by taxpayers."
"Some of the most fanatic about inflicting unnecessary pain on the American public are regulars, enjoying our House gym while the staff gym is closed," he said.